Hundreds of people braved chilly weather to line up in front of department stores nationwide yesterday to claim a “lucky bag” (福袋) on the first day of the Lunar New Year, but not everyone managed to get what they wished for.
As part of a Lunar New Year tradition, department and retail stores in Taiwan and a few other Asian countries offer bags filled with mystery goodies to customers who wish to “try their luck” as they welcome the new year.
Top prizes range from large amounts of cash to cars, laptop computers and television sets. Every year hundreds of people line up at department stores to purchase their lucky bags on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
The economic downturn meant that only three cars were given away in Taiwan this year, two by department stores in Taipei and one in Kaohsiung, compared with seven cars last year.
The bags’ prices varied from store to store — in smaller cities, customers could purchase a bag for NT$100 if they spent more than NT$1,000. At pricier stores, the bags can cost up to NT$3,000, not to mention the time spent waiting in line, as the numbers of bags are usually limited.
Some people were more determined than others and even gave up big family dinners on Lunar New Year’s Eve to camp out in tents outside of some stores.
After hours of standing in line, however, not everyone was pleased to discover what was in their bag.
A young female customer who had received a razor and a teddy bear said: “I’m kind of disappointed, because it’s not as good as ones I have received in previous years.”